This article tries to answer the most basic yet confusing questions around influencer marketing.
- What is influencer marketing?
- How can influencer marketing help your brand?
- How much does influencer marketing cost?
- How to determine the right influencers for your brand?
Influencer Marketing is the latest advertising buzzword in the community. Everybody is talking about it, everybody has heard of it but not many are clear about what it means or how it works. Influencer Marketing, to be put in easy terms, is the Millennial take on Celebrity Endorsements. Just like all things millennial, Influencer Marketing also takes its roots in social media.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Presence on social media platforms
While that definition might be a little bit of a mouthful, let’s try to break it down in order to understand the concept in depth. As mentioned before, a social media account is one of the few requirements for an influencer. Influencers can be on any platform or website. While Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube are the most common ones, Snapchat, Tik Tok and Twitch are picking up pace. Among other unconventional yet highly impactful platforms is Reddit.
Geocaching, a platform that engages it’s users in a hide and seek game of containers that are tracked down in a treasure hunt manner, found a spike in its downloads after being mentioned on Ask Reddit, a popular account followed by a majority of Reddit users. Post this, Geocaching regularly interacts with its users through Reddit and has built a strong community on the basis of sustained engagement.
Content is the king
While social media is the base, content is the king. Influencers often pick a genre of content while engaging with their audience. These genres are mainly but not limited to Fashion, Technology, Photography, Arts and Design. As the days pass, Creators are shifting towards more unconventional content and getting recognized for the same.
For example, zuvamart’s page on Instagram is limited to pictures of chai on a blue background. He calls it the “365 days of chai” project. This page picked up recognition ever so quickly that the creator was invited to the Google Pixel’s Influencer Marketing Program. Zuvam along with other smaller but niche content creators were able to generate buzz about the Pixel 3 phone to the point where the phone was sold out within a day online.
While content dominates social media presence, the level of consumption of this content is generally what differentiates a creator from an influencer. Higher engagement levels with the content is an influencer’s main goal. What determines an engaged audience usually differs with the platform, however, a good rule of thumb would be to measure comments, likes, and shares in contrast to the number of followers.
Taking the example of Lily Singh, popularly known by her screen name iisuperwomanii, has a highly engaged audience with posts getting 1 million likes within a couple of hours of being uploaded. Billie Eilish, a popular singer, recorded 20 million video views with 5 million likes and 50,000 comments for a post for Calvin Klien’s “I __ in my Calvins” campaign.
Quality of Engagement
The quality of engagement is also an important factor in determining an influencer’s credibility. A lot of the time, the comments section becomes a place for discussion amongst users. It is important to understand that these discussions are also a major part of the quality of engagement. For the most part, trust and loyalty built by the influencer determines the quality of engagement. Influencers build trust by displaying genuineness and honesty in the content.
Quora’s Top writer’s program has built high levels of trust. Any answer by these writers is taken for its word and very rarely do readers raise questions about the validity of these. These writers have a huge following and qualify as influencers as their answers form opinions for the readers. Loyalty, while tougher to quantify, is essentially level of support or allegiance as shown by the followers. Having a loyal follower base would imply that the influencer has a higher command of influencing opinions.
How can it help my brand?
Influencer Marketing is a great marketing tool for brands looking to generate buzz about their products. Influencer marketing can be used for meeting a variety of marketing goals such as generating a buzz, influencing purchase decisions or even just branding. Some Brands have gone above and beyond and used Influencer Marketing as a performance tool using coupon codes or contests. The bottom line is that Influencer Marketing offers freedom in terms of marketing goals and brands should not shy away from creatively using this freedom.
How much does it cost?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Influencer Marketing is that it is expensive and a tedious process. Those in the industry beg to differ. While it is true that bigger budgets might lead to a wider reach, it is also true that smaller budgets can, if done right, lead to great engagement with the right target audience. For example the
How to determine the right influencers?
The first step in determining the right influencers is to determine the end goal of the activity. Once this has been determined, one must concentrate on understanding the category of influencers to choose from. While categorizing can be difficult due to the subjective nature, it can help in narrowing down the right influencer. Next is the selection phase where one must use Engagement, Reach and Quality of content to choose the influencers from the pool. Once a handful of influencers are chosen, the next step is to understand the cost per influencer and determine the deliverables accordingly.
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